The zombie genre has had a surge of popularity as of recently. From The Walking Dead to the upcoming World War Z (2013), zombie’s seem to be everywhere in popular culture nowadays.
So in the midst of this flesh eating gore fest of a genre, we’ve got Warm Bodies (2013), based on the book by Isaac Marion, which takes a different kind of approach to the typical zombie film.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is an unusually introspective zombie who longs to feel human again. When he and a group of other zombies are feeding on a group of human’s who are scavenging for supplies, he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) and feels an urge to protect her, rather than attack and eat her flesh. As their friendship develops, R starts to become more human. Witnessing this change in him, the other zombies start to regain their humanity back as well. And together, humans and zombies must bridge the gap between them and protect each other from a mutual threat: the “Bonies”.
I never got to see Warm Bodies in theaters, but I’ve been wanting to see this for some time now, even though it kind of reminded me of a zombie version of Twilight when I saw some of the trailers for it. However, it looked different, and I was curious. There is a love story in this movie: R and Julie (Romeo and Juliet, anybody?). However, it’s not the complete focus or theme of the film. Warm Bodies is not a zombie version of Twilight because it possesses not only a better love story, but also a better plot in general, as well as better acting.
Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer are great. They brought personality to their characters and I loved watching them on screen- together and separately. The rest of the cast does a good job on their part, but film mainly focuses on Hoult and Palmer. I especially enjoyed Hoult because he brought life to a character that is a lifeless monster. It was fun to watch.
I really enjoyed the tone in the film. For a movie about the zombie apocalypse, it was quite humorous. I mean, there were serious parts in the film where it was necessary, but they never lasted long enough to put a damper on the rest of the film.
But one of the most interesting things about Warm Bodies is that it is told from the point of view of a zombie, something that I’ve never seen done before. R longs to feel human again: he wants to feel emotion, dream, and connect with the world around him. He collects objects like vinyl records because it makes him feel more alive. I found this whole concept so interesting because I felt myself relating to R, even though he’s a zombie and I’m a human. But, like R, as humans, we want to connect with others; we all have emotions, dreams, goals, and conflicts; we all long for companionship. I mean, I know on occasion I’ve used the phrase “I feel like a zombie” anytime I’ve ever felt disoriented or depressed or so stressed out about life that I would just shut down and stop thinking. It kind of reminded me of the social commentary on consumer culture that George Romero made with Dawn of Dead (1978), minus the fact that there’s no emphasis on consumer culture in Warm Bodies. The lesson that can be taken from the movie is that the only necessities that humans truly need to be happy aren’t materialistic ones.
Keep in mind though, even though I just went into analysis mode with this movie, Warm Bodies isn’t a masterpiece in any way whatsoever. It’s more “date night” material, if you will and it doesn’t really offer a definitive reason for why the zombies start to become human again; but I would argue that we never really get a definitive answer for the origins of the zombie virus that infects humanity in zombie films either… Also, if you’re looking for horror and gore, this is not the movie for you: it’s not scary or gory at all.
In short, Warm Bodies is simply a pretty cool movie. It’s entertaining, has good acting, a good plot, and is an interesting take on the zombie genre.